Whether you love Valentine’s Day, hate it, or are just sort of “meh” about it, there appears to be a direct correlation between choosing to really celebrate it or just sort of ignore it based on whether or not you have a significant other, a great group of friends — Galentine’s Day anyone? — a family you love to celebrate, or are all about giving yourself some special self-care. The day named for the legendary priest who supposedly performed secret wedding ceremonies during the time of Emperor Claudius II — and losing his life for it — comes along only once-a-year, and while showing someone you love that they matter to you needs to be an everyday thing, there are some fun ways to expand your “will you be mine?” horizons on this particular day: pamper your pets.
Showering your animal bff with all that love you have inside is a great way to add them to your sweetheart list or make them your number one. These bundles of fluff, feathers, and scales have nothing but unconditional adoration for you, so why not make this day a celebration of them? Here are some cuddly ways to show your faithful friend that you appreciate them on this special day.
Take them for a walk
Getting outside in nature and enjoying some fresh air is not only good for you but also your pet. Just as we need regular exercise, so do our animal loved ones, but that goes beyond the traditional dogs. Have you ever thought about walking your cat? Your rabbit? Your bird? You can bond with any of your animals when you introduce them to a new environment, get them to stretch whatever appendages they have (even if it’s slithering their entire body), and enjoy the world with you. Sure, there are leashes for dogs, but there are also harnesses for rabbits and sets for cats — which in my experience are interchangeable — and if you want to take pretty much any of your animals out for a walk but are worried about them running away or being too small for a harness, you can use a pet stroller.
Before you roll your eyes, please know this, keeping a pet cooped up in your house is not the best for them, no matter how small they are and how big their enclosure. Getting them out into the open air safely and consistently is healthy, and offers an opportunity for the two of you to become closer and even have them socialize. Pet strollers are built expressly for that purpose and while you may get some looks walking down the street or through the park, this is about your beloved animal not the folks you encounter, and there are really good pet strollers out there that are not at all expensive, and at least you’ll know your too-small-for-leash-or-harness pet is well-protected and enjoying some fresh air with you.
The time you spend playing with your pet not only gets them physical exercise but makes them feel closer to you. All our animals enjoy that interaction, regardless of their species, and it shows them how much you care. Whether fetching with your dog, using a laser pointer with your cat, or playing birdie basketball (yes, it’s a thing) with your parrot, our loving pets enjoy having their brains challenged, bodies worked, and time spent interacting with you. It’s fun, it’s engaging, and even helps their behavior. Playtime wears them out and supports strong, positive mental health for both of you.
A gentle rubbing of the ears, a loving stroke of the belly, an even and slightly firm application of pressure to those things they walk or slither on will soothe and calm your pet. This again is a way of becoming closer to each other and engenders trust. The beauty of the pet massage cannot be overrated. When we touch, that other being can feel us, get a sense of us, and we can feel them. It lets them know we’re right there for them, and the care we have for them comes through our hands and into their hearts. It’s a nonverbal “I love you.”
We know each animal is different, each pet owner has their own rule about treats, and we’re not telling you to do anything beyond your comfort level. HOWEVER (yeah, yeah, you’re not supposed to begin a sentence with “however” but you’re also not supposed to wear white after Labor Day and if that’s true, explain “winter white”), creating something delicious for your pet from scratch allows you to control the ingredients, make it as natural and organic as you wish, and use the foods and flavors that matter to your animal. Just as you show love by cooking for your humans, the same can be done by cooking, preparing for your furry, hairy, feathered and scaled bffs. The care you put into making these in your kitchen on your stove and in your oven will be tasted in every bite, and you’ll feel even better about giving the treats knowing you controlled the ingredients and are aware of every bit of what went into them.
Quiet cuddle time
Simple. Just be together. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, just sit, lay, be there with them by your side, relaxed, easy. There is such a gift to enjoying each other’s company, maybe even with a little music softly playing in the background. Our pets are attached to us emotionally and we to them. It is just how it is. Stopping and spending some quiet cuddle time together is a simple gesture of pure care and appreciation for that unconditional companion.
A special, always there for you Valentine’s treat
Regardless of how you show your care for your pet, they will appreciate it and they will return it every single day. There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate the love you feel for them, you never run out of things to do together. The joy of making your special Valentine your animal best friend is that they have no idea it’s a holiday. All they know is the adoration they have for you always is being returned in a more special way than usual. You’ll never have to say, “Will you be my Valentine?” Their heart is forever yours without ever needing to ask.
Happy Valentine’s Day.